Tesla Motors Inc. and SolarCity Corp. consider themselves partners. On the issue of energy storage, however, they’re in an uncomfortable marriage. Tesla wants to expand the battery storage market and has launched a new arm to pursue that aim. When it opens its Gigafactory now under construction in Nevada, the electric vehicle company plans to dedicate up to a third of production for grid-connected storage systems that SolarCity and others will market.
But a position of SolarCity and other solar partners clashes with that vision. Solar companies have been pushing in California to protect net metering, the policy that allows those with rooftop photovoltaics to earn electricity bill credit for excess power sent to the grid. It’s a benefit available in some form in 44 states.